5 Characteristics of a Great Mediator

Mediation is growing in popularity, and it’s easy to see why. It’s faster and less expensive than the trial of a lawsuit, and both sides retain more control over the situation than they would if a judge was at the helm. Instead, they deal with a meditator whose job is to help facilitate a resolution that they devise.

Mediation is one of those rare processes that is both a science and an art form. All attorney mediators are first trained on how to facilitate communications between disputing parties, and over time develop an ability to deal with all kinds of people in a variety of circumstances. They suggest ways that a dispute may be resolved but refrain from imposing their own judgment on the issues at stake.

So what makes someone a “great” mediator? Although many positive qualities and skills come into play, the five characteristics below are invaluable when it comes to success.


A good mediator inspires trust. When people attend a mediation session, they want to believe that the mediator will keep all discussions confidential and use any information they receive to reach a mutually acceptable resolution to the situation. If clients don’t get this impression, they won’t talk openly and the purpose of mediation is defeated. On the other hand, if the mediator’s manner reflects sincerity, strength, and fairness, both sides may be more cooperative and receptive to the mediation process.


Good mediators are seen as friendly, empathetic, and respectful. They listen carefully, appreciate the emotions and needs that underlie each conversation, and come across as genuinely concerned with the well-being of everyone involved. When they acknowledge feelings, display an appropriate sense of humor, and convey a sense of optimism, both sides to a dispute will, in theory, follow suit.


Dedication is a sterling quality in all professionals, and mediators are no exception. When they devote time before each session to properly prepare and work diligently to achieve a positive outcome in every situation, their effectiveness in dispute resolution increases. Clients are quick to perceive when a mediator is applying extra effort to bring about a fair conclusion.


Parties to a dispute want mediators who can quickly grasp a situation, understand its complexities and dynamics, and provide a clearer understanding of options by analyzing the issues and identifying risk. This level of perceptiveness enables more creative problem solving and increases the chances of an outcome that both sides find acceptable.


When it comes to successful mediation, impartiality is as important as approachability. To be effective, a mediator must be able to control their feelings and not invest emotionally in the outcome of the proceedings. That way they are better able to create, identify, and take advantage of opportunities that help both sides realize their goals.

Mediation is arguably one of the best conflict resolution processes, being more positive and less expensive than litigation. Mediation is highly effective, and more than 80% of cases referred to mediation are resolved at mediation. At Fraser, Wilson & Bryan, P.C. we make mediation services available to resolve personal injury matters, family law conflicts, business matters, and more. To learn more about what’s involved or to schedule a mediation with one of our highly qualified mediators, please contact us today.